Getting Some Things Straight
2 Timothy 2:24-26; 3:16-17; 4:1-2
Misconceptions can arise quite easily, and I wish to address a misconception about evangelism and the work of the minister or evangelist which many in today’s church seem to have. Often this misunderstanding is expressed in some of the prayers offered, and please don’t take this personally if you have prayed this way. The prayer is something like: “Help our preacher find new ways to spread the gospel.” Now I know this is well-meaning, but it isn’t the minister’s job to find new ways to spread the gospel! There are primarily three things wrong with this idea.
First of all, it implies that the spreading of the gospel has to be done through some event or program. Now, campaigns and other outreach events have their place, but they are not the most effective way to spread the gospel, and they are very short-lived. If the focus is on such “programs,” other opportunities slip by unnoticed. Much of the year passes without any “evangelism” taking place.
Secondly, it implies that evangelism happens in some kind of “group” effort. This is a truly harmful misconception, and is probably one of the main reasons why the spread of the gospel languishes in today’s church as a whole. Scripture is quite plain that every Christian is to have ready a reason for their hope, be able to teach the gospel to another, and to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” Individual Christians are to be ready for opportunities to do good and to sow some seed.
In the third place, the minister’s work is primarily in the word of God: teaching, training, exhorting, rebuking, et al. Certainly he is to be an example to the congregation in teaching the lost, but he is also to be teaching the members of the assembly to be “equipped for every good work” which includes teaching the gospel!
When Christ lives in the Christian (Galatians 2:20), His power is available for living the righteous life and for sharing the gospel of His grace. We just have to let Him work!